Fostering the development of emotional and social intelligence is a key part of everyday life at EIS. Staff strive to provide students with a range of opportunities to express their feelings and tools to manage these.
Emotional and social wellbeing is supported at EIS through an innovative K-12 education programme developed by Emory University: SEE (Social, Emotional, and Ethical) Learning. It provides educators with the tools they need to foster the development of emotional, social, and ethical intelligence for students and themselves.
Engaging in conversations about how students feel normalizes all emotions and struggles that come with them. Doing this validates a child’s emotions and sends them the message that their feelings are valid and worthwhile. This helps them to accept and understand and helps them to reach the social-emotional learning competency of self-awareness.
Loving things we can say to validate a child’s feelings: “It’s understandable you feel that way …“, “It’s normal to have those feelings…”, “I would feel similar if I was in the same situation …”, “I felt the same way when I was your age …”
In every classroom, students are invited to participate in a daily emotion check-in which requires students to think about their overall feeling when entering the classroom. These can look different depending on grade level and classroom. They allow classroom teachers and teaching assistants to connect with each and every student by giving them a voice. We get a sense of how they are doing and offer quick support should they need it. Using emotion check-ins is also a way of having students practice identifying their emotions each day.
Numerous possibilities to co-regulate and self-regulate are available to students in the classroom. Calm corners are set up as safe spaces for students when needed; breathing exercises are taught and practiced; videos of guided meditation can be used for whole classes to wind down etc.
Grief, anger, anxiety, worry... all feelings are welcome in the classroom. Some of these may be difficult to understand and therefore to deal with. Books for emotional development are a wonderful way to introduce students to these emotions. When reading these stories in the classroom, students engage in discussions and offer insightful ways to manage emotions.
Some suggested reading materials for you and your child:
Hector's Favorite Place by Jo Rooks
A Box of Butterflies by Jo Rooks
Nico Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka
The Boy With Big, Big, Feelings by Britney Winn Lee
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Grade 2 Teacher